Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Race Weekend - the LONG version

I dropped Kalyn off at school on Friday mid morning and was starting to cry, so she was clinging to me and didn't want to get down. Finally I pulled myself together and she was ready to get down and let me go. I managed to walk away from there without completely breaking down, but I remembered why I should have worn sunglasses!

I finished up the last few things to get done at home and Vijay came to pick me up. We went and got Kima from work and headed off to the airport. I had a bit of an issue going through security because of my gels to use for the race. The guy would only let me through with one bag of liquids gels and told me that my bag was already full, it had to close, so I should just go put them in my car. I gave him a dirty look and proceeded to stuff all of them into the bag. I managed to squeeze all but 2 of them in which Kima could fit into her bag. It was the beginning of "don't tell me what I can't do" theme for the weekend for me...

We had a 4 hour layover in Denver, but we filled it up with first trying to get onto the earlier flight, drinking the world's smallest cocktail and then having a real meal with real cocktails and travel scrabble.

We managed to rearrange the people around us on the flight to Seattle so we could all sit together. We watched a movie on the portable dvd player with 2 sets of headphones. It was hard to hear, but at least we were all entertained.

By the time we landed it was dark so we took the shuttle to the hotel and I went straight to bed but they went out to get a bite to eat. I fell asleep just enough that by the time they came back and went to bed I couldn't fall back asleep.

Saturday morning we got up and had breakfast and got the rental car then went in search of a radio shack to buy the ipod cable for the car. It was conveniently placed next to a grocery store so I was able to stock up on some bubbly for after the race.

We were officially off on the road. I played my music and sang loudly for awhile. The drive was really pretty with all of the pines and the colorful trees in fall. We switched to Kima's music for the rest of the drive. It was good dance music and hip hop but not many songs I knew.

The town of Port Angeles was busy between the crab festival and the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. I got out to buy the tickets to the ferry and they went in search of a place to park. We regrouped in time to get in line, so we had to wait and get lunch on the boat. We played another round of scrabble on the boat, and also saw a whale. It was quite a distance away, but you could see it jumping up and almost playing with a whale sight seeing boat that it was right next to. I took seeing a whale as a good omen for the weekend.

We got off the boat and were trying to figure out which hotel was ours. It turned out to be the beautiful hotel right in front of us with vines growing up the red brick. The rooms weren't ready yet, but the good news was we had been upgraded to a deluxe room, so we went off to get our race packets and a snack while we waited for it to be ready. There were so many people checking into the race. It was going to be the biggest event I had ever done. We walked around for awhile and found a pub to have a snack at. Then our room was ready and it was worth the wait. Staying at the Empress was a very nice experience. They had everything from chocolate after you checked in to qtips in the bathroom.

I did a little yoga to stretch out before the race while they watched some t.v. and then we went out in search of dinner. Kima had found a flier in the race packets for a steak house that was doing a pre-race pasta dinner special. We called them and they were able to seat us right away, so after a few calls we figured out how to get there and ran to get our warm up run in.

The pasta dish was a good deal with homemade fettuccine and a choice of 3 different sauces. We also got a local bottle of red wine to share. The dinner was great and we had a fun time laughing and being out.

The wine helped the pre-race jitters for me and I was able to get a decent night of sleep. Vijay did the 6:30 start, so he was up and out before 6, but we slept until 7 and then went down to the dining room for our complimentary breakfast. I had the "spa breakfast" with a shot of carrot juice, poached eggs, multigrain crostini and a fruit kabob. By the time we were done with breakfast it was almost 8:00, but luckily we had gotten ready by putting out all of our stuff the night before. My nerves were going crazy though. We made it out the door and down the elevator with a few other racers. By the time we got outside and started walking to the start Kima realized she didn't have her bib, so she ran back upstairs while I confirmed how to get to the start and tightened my shoes. We met back up and found our place at the start and only had a few minutes before they sang the Canadian anthem and then started the clock. It was a couple of minutes before we actually crossed the start line because of the amount of people, but we were off!

Starting in the back was crazy to see how many people filled up the streets in front of us while we ran through the city. I was feeling really good and could feel the benefits of being at sea level. We ran straight through for about the first 10 minutes and then turned the watch on to start the 5:00 run 1:00 walk intervals. The course looped back a few times, and we saw the lead of the half marathon runners, and they were going VERY fast.

The course wound around to the shore and we ran along there for awhile. We figured from the course that we might run into Vijay as he was coming back. Kima had brought her blackberry, and Vijay had already texted her before our race started, so she sent him a text asking what KM he was at. The course was market at every KM, but I'm so used to miles it was confusing for me to figure out how far we had gone. We wound back around to the main street and saw the lead marathon runners coming through. They were after their mile 20 and were still looking really strong.

We saw Vijay about at his 30 KM, and he was in good spirits. Kima started to really not feel that great, and we got to the halfway point and I realized if I wanted to finish near 5 hours, I needed to pick up the pace a little. We had just put our ipods on and the music was making me feel really good. I was focused on the music and realized I needed to do my own race, but I never got a chance to say anything to Kima that I was just going to go my own pace and felt really bad about that for the rest of the race.

I headed out and was feeling really good. I was making a good pace and passing lots of runners. It was amazing how many young teenagers were out volunteering on the course and local people out cheering.

At about the 10K left to go mark, I had a little over an hour until the 5 hour mark, but that's about when my muscles really started tightening up and I slowed down some more. I did keep running at the intervals though. With 1 mile left to go I know I wasn't going to be under 5, but I was more emotional about almost finishing and started hyperventilating. I managed to get myself back together and had to do it again a couple more times before I got to the finish.

I made the final turn to the finish line and passed two more people to complete the race in 5:05. I was starting to hyperventilate after I finished and was ready to start bawling. I made it through the people taking the chip off my shoe and got my finishers medal and into the food area where no one was paying attention to me before I started crying a little.

I was going to wait for Kima at the finish but the realized I needed to get back and shower if we were all going to be able to shower and catch the 3:00 ferry. Vijay was resting in the hotel room, and I had a shower which felt really good. Kima made it back while I was in the shower. She was tired and I assumed cranky at me for leaving her.

We got onto the ferry and all had a polish dog and then I opened the first bottle of sparking wine. By this time we were all feeling a lot better and enjoyed the rest of the boat ride. We sat outside the whole time even though it was cold, but it was also refreshing.

We got back to the car and got another snack at the grocery store, then back on the road to Seattle. We made it most of the way back before it got dark, but it was a long 2:30 hour drive. Kima dozed in the backseat, and I chatted with Vijay while he drove. We got back into Seattle, checked in, and then went back out to find somewhere for dinner. It was a long process, but we found a quick sushi place and gas and then returned the car. By the time we got back to the hotel and ate our dinner and then got ready for bed it was almost 11. I was absolutely exhausted. Everyone else had been able to rest at some point of the day, but I had been going without shutting my eyes the whole time.

We got up before 6 to get ready and get to our flight, got there with the perfect amount of time but had to check our bags at the gate because the overhead bins were full. We were all sitting separately, but I watched my movie and the flight went quickly because of that.

We had another long layover in Denver, but got something to eat and played another round of scrabble. The last flight was another jet, so it was fast and easy. It took forever for them to bring the bags out from the flight, but finally we were home!

Kalyn woke up from her nap right about when I got home, and she was being very clingy with Fred and didn't want anything to do with me. I knew she would come around eventually once she stopped crying over not being able to watch a movie.

Fred made a nice dinner and I got Kalyn to bed and went straight to bed myself!

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